PURPOSE. Currently, the ability for imaging to capture brain adaptations to injury that occurs in multiple sclerosis (MS) is limited. In particular, how the brain initially contends with the earliest clinical manifestations of white matter injury has yet to be defined. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of acute optic neuritis (ON) on resting state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fcMRI). METHODS. Fifteen patients with a clinically isolated syndrome of acute ON were evaluated at an academic center in a prospective study. Subjects were assessed with structural and functional vision measures, including optical coherence tomography (OCT), high- and lowcontrast letter acuity testing, and visual fields and quality-of-life measures (VFQ-25). The rsfcMRI was compared with age- and sex-matched healthy controls. RESULTS. We observed reduced functional connectivity within the visual system and a loss of anticorrelations between the visual system and nonvisual networks. Stronger functional connectivity between visual regions correlated with better quality of life, as measured by the VFQ-25, and better acuity scores for both high- and low-contrast testing in the affected eye. CONCLUSIONS. The rs-fcMRI functional connectivity changes within (intranetwork) and between (internetwork) resting state networks occur after acute ON, indicating immediate cortical responses to focal inflammatory demyelination. Thus, focal white matter injury in the central nervous system acutely results in widespread network alterations that may lead to functional neurologic changes seen in MS.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Optic neuritis